The Mold Diaries
Mold: Is It Hiding in Your Home?
We have all heard horror stories from friends and neighbors about mold infestation and the damage it can cause to a house, belongings, and health. It is typical for dangerous or rare types of indoor mold to grab all the attention, but far more common kinds of mold are quietly responsible for headaches, respiratory problems, allergies, sinus inflammation, and other problems for thousands of Americans.
You’ve Got Mold
It is inevitable; every home has some level of mold, no matter how well you scrub, scrape, ventilate or disinfect. Almost any amount of prolonged moisture exposure on wood, insulation, drywall, plaster, or most other surfaces will cause mold spores to grow. This is why mold remediation is so costly – you are not just paying to have the mold removed; in most cases you also have to find and eliminate the source of the moisture.
Don’t Be Fooled by “Toxic” Mold
The term “toxic mold” is one of those media-friendly euphemisms that spice up headlines and boost readership. The truth is, mold itself is not toxic, and the types of aggressive mold that do produce toxins are extremely rare. Furthermore, these rare forms of mold are usually only life-threatening to newborns, the elderly and the seriously ill.
Some types of mold produce mycotoxins, which possess the “toxic” effects often attributed to mold. While these mycotoxins are almost universally harmful, other kinds of mold are simply allergenic or pathogenic. This is where the complications begin. If you have mold allergies, you could be much worse off being exposed to an allergenic mold than a healthy person would be if exposed to a so-called “toxic mold.” For those with compromised immune systems because of illness or disease, a pathogenic mold can produce adverse effects just as devastating as a toxic mold.
So You Think You Know Mold?
There are more than 100,000 different types of mold spores, all of which are nearly impossible for you to identify specifically. Mold can be yellow, green, pink, black, or white – in all different shades and hues. To make matters even more confusing, the exact same kind of mold can appear completely different depending on the situation. Most experts will tell you that it is generally pointless to try to pinpoint the specific type of mold you have in your house; it just doesn’t matter. Unless you or someone in your home is experiencing extremely severe health problems, forget trying to identify the mold and just call a professional in to remove it.
If you find mold in your house – and you will – there is no need to run screaming to the nearest emergency room. However, you should keep infants, elderly people, and those who might have an existing respiratory condition from spending too much time in a room where you know mold is present. Mold is most commonly found in areas prone to dampness, like the bathroom or basement, and is likely there even if you can’t see it. If you develop a sudden, unexplained respiratory problem, call in a mold remediation specialist right away. If you notice a leak in your plumbing, call in a plumber to fix it immediately, to stop mold from appearing. The longer you leave a mold problem untreated, the more damage it will do to you and your home.